welcome to the new age

It's amazing how God can work incredible change in the weakest people. That's the theme of my year so far. I'll be honest, I have no idea where my life is going or what my future holds or even what next week holds for me. But I think God is working incredible change in me. I know He is. I pray that I allow it and foster it and use it. Because I'm learning in tiny ways that even in the most uncertain days, joy and peace can be found. Even in the most confusing times, God is constant.

Obviously these are things I've heard, read, and even said over and over. God is faithful, God can change us, God can use the weakest people. But maybe before this year I never really admitted to myself that I was one of those weak ones. That I needed God's dramatic change. I'm pretty ready to admit that now. We've been studying in Exodus about how God can use unpromising people and work a great purpose. That's a pretty basic theme through the whole Bible, especially Genesis, Exodus, and Luke. But let's be real, we're all pretty unpromising from the perspective of a holy God. We're all pretty marred and selfish and lost and emotionally unstable in comparison to our clean, pure, loving, and completely stable Creator. I guess this is all comforting because I feel pretty Moses-ish sometimes. I think I'm put in situations where I should be able to do a lot of good, but I tend to respond with a "No, I think You picked the wrong person, I'm not eloquent, and they won't listen to me." Instead of "Speak, Lord, Your servant hears." I think God has to bring us down to rock bottom sometimes to show us what He can do in our lives, and to show us that even when chaos swirls around us (Coldplay wording) He is always going to be constant. That's my year.

A few vague and random tidbits from the past few months: (this is to describe my "rock bottom," not to complain.) Consistant illness, struggles with anxiety and discouragement, best friend moving to CA, faux cousin/real mentor moving to OK, lots of doctors visits, medication changes, passing out, more doctors visits, more doctors visits, break-ups, confusion, changes, upper-D, lots of money stress....

All of these are small. All of these are selfish. All of these are things that don't need to have any effect on my soul. And yet sometimes all the little grains of sand start looking like mountains. Especially when you're me and panic about things. I'll be the first to admit I am dramatic and let myself worry far too much over silliness. I'll be the first to admit that's been crippling in the past year+ for me. I'll also be the first to admit that I'm grateful for struggles like that, because I am learning that all these little grains of sand in my mountains allow me to see God's hand and allow me to empathize with other people and their grains of sand.

I've been cheerier lately. Which I'm grateful for. And I don't say that to toot my own horn. (Mostly just wanted to use the word toot.) There are lots of contributing factors, all of which are blessings from God. Friends who I can pray with, talk to, and count on. (Katie, Adam, William, Erica, Emma, Drew, Danae, Alli, Ashlyn, etc.) A peaceful and comforting room and suite. Mattress pads. (That's not a joke. I love sleep.) Medication that doesn't make me break out in hives. Visits from family members (Gwen and Lauren and Joe can pretty much cheer anyone up.) Hugs from my Dad. Benevolence from unexpected places at the perfect time. Useful and enjoyable classes. Dr. Crispell and his patience and mentoring. My flexible job and his kindness when I'm at the doctor instead of at work half of the time. My Mom who has done my laundry, cleaned my room, driven me to countless appointments, bought me food, let me cry, and prayed for me countless times in the past few weeks.

Really, I can't express how blessed I am. I think that's why even though today was long and I felt bad and got another negative doctor's report, I feel so happy as I get ready to go to sleep. I'll be honest, today was one of the more challenging ones I've had lately. And I definitely had some tears and some panic. Cardiologists and neurologists are just scary words, you know? But let's be real: I'm so blessed and comfortable. I mean, even last week when I literally didn't have a dollar to my name, I didn't have to worry for a second about starving. Because without paying a dollar out of pocket I can go to the cafeteria and eat 3x a day. That puts things in perspective. And even when I am in pain or scared about health situations that I don't really understand, I am sleeping in a comfortable dorm every night and have the resources to go to doctors and get help. And a Mom who wants to help. And even when life is confusing and I don't know what to do with my future, I know that some day I am going to die and really all that matters is that today I decide to be grateful for what I have and serve God with it. #sorryfortherunonsentences

I guess this post is just meant to be a spilling out of gratitude. Because I know that to those of you who know me best, I vent more about fears and sadness and ills than I do about blessings. When really, even if my life was like Job's, I would still have more than I deserved.

I'm so happy to be learning contentment. I still have a long way to go. I've always been able to find blessings when I really tried, and have been able to see how they outweighed my trials, but I think I'm learning to really feel that and remember it more regularly. And I'm grateful that I am feeling it. The more I'm consumed with my struggles, the less I can be consumed with helping other people deal with their struggles. And that's what I want to be consumed with. Serving. So please keep me accountable, friends. I need that.

Blessings today: Beautiful weather, Dunkin with Erica, praying with 500 fellow Christians in chapel, a phone call from Drew, hugs from my Aunt, free laundry, Katie and Beau offering to run a late-night errand for me, hugs and comfort from my Daddy, texts from Emma and William and Bethany, Chipotle, getting to watch the Cardinal's game at the Crispells', Dunkin with Adam, and time to sit in my car and pray. That's quite a list.

Grateful for a unique time in my life and place where I can learn from others every day and how they use their gifts. Grateful for the chance I have to see their selflessness at work in my life and in the lives of others. Grateful for God's comfort and calming. Grateful for challenges that make us stronger.

I'm grateful for the things I can't understand. I'm grateful for the things I won't understand. I'm thankful that God has the world in His hands and doesn't require me to know what's ahead. I'm grateful that as I grow nearer to Him, He shows me more of His goodness.

It's kind of cool how just like trials can be wake-up calls to bring you closer to God, blessings can be too. Because just like I want to have God when I'm struggling, and get anxious to have His help, His provision and unexpected abundance just reminds me in new ways how amazing it is that even when I let myself drift, He is taking constant care of me. He is so good, come what may.

Things may get harder, I may lose this perspective tomorrow, but tonight I'm thankful for today. I'm thankful for all that God is teaching me through these uncertainties and confusions and fears. I'm grateful for happiness.


On a lighter note:

Where do you drown a hipster? In the mainstream.

What do you call someone with no body and a nose? Nobody knows.

Oh yeah, and if you can think of a better fish pun, let minnow.